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Steelmaker Cleveland-Cliffs completes blast furnace hydrogen trial

Hydrogen was used as a partial substitute for the coke necessary for iron reduction, ultimately replacing the release of CO2 with the release of water vapor with no impact to product quality or operating efficiency.

Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. has successfully completed a hydrogen (H2) injection trial at its Middletown Works blast furnace.

This groundbreaking introduction of hydrogen gas as an iron reducing agent in the blast furnace is the first-ever use of this carbon friendly technology in the Americas region, the company said in a news release. The successful use of hydrogen gas represents a significant step toward the future decarbonization of blast furnaces, which are necessary for the continued service of the most quality-intensive steel applications, particularly for the automotive industry.

During the trial completed on May 8, 2023, hydrogen gas was injected into all 20 tuyeres at the Middletown #3 blast furnace, facilitating the production of clean pig iron – the foundation of high-end steelmaking. Hydrogen was used as a partial substitute for the coke necessary for iron reduction, ultimately replacing the release of CO2 with the release of H2O (water vapor) with no impact to product quality or operating efficiency. The hydrogen was delivered to the Middletown facility via the existing pipeline and transportation infrastructure in place for the facility’s other hydrogen uses, including for its annealing furnaces.

Lourenco Goncalves, Cliffs’ chairman, president and chief executive officer, said: “We are proud to be the first company in the Americas to inject hydrogen into a blast furnace – a demonstration of our commitment to develop and implement breakthrough technological advancements toward decarbonization. Cleveland-Cliffs thrives on innovation, so it was fitting that this major step was completed just a short distance from our Cliffs Research and Innovation Center in Middletown, Ohio. This achievement proves our ability to use green hydrogen throughout our footprint when it becomes readily and economically available, including in our seven blast furnaces and our state-of-the-art direct reduction facility. We are already the world leaders in natural gas injection, and this success confirms there is a bright, sustainable and environmentally friendly future for the much needed BF-BOF steelmaking technology.”

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Raven SR and H3 Dynamics sign MoU for waste-to-hydrogen supply at airports

The companies will jointly develop renewable hydrogen facilities to supply fuel for various ground operations at airports.

Raven SR Inc., a renewable fuels company, and H3 Dynamics, a developer of hydrogen aviation technologies, today announced their memorandum of understanding to globally collaborate on waste-to-hydrogen energy systems to support the decarbonization of airport operations and the adoption of hydrogen at airports.

H3 Dynamics will provide hydrogen power systems to replace conventional fuel and other energy sources at airports, especially in Asia, Europe and the US. Raven SR will provide renewable hydrogen production facilities to supply airports. The use of hydrogen to power various ground operations will help reduce emissions at airports.

“We see tremendous demand to decarbonize the aviation sector with renewable fuels, including on the ground,” said Matt Murdock, CEO of Raven SR. “By collaborating with H3 Dynamics, we can reach a broader network among airports and equipment, including a variety of aircraft operations, to install waste-to-energy hubs where there is an acute need to curb emissions.”

The Raven SR technology is a non-combustion thermal, chemical reductive process that converts organic waste and landfill gas to hydrogen and Fischer-Tropsch synthetic fuels. Unlike other hydrogen production technologies such as electrolysis, Raven SR’s Steam/CO2 reformation does not require fresh water as a feedstock. The process is more efficient than conventional hydrogen production and can deliver fuel with low to negative carbon intensity. Additionally, Raven SR’s goal is to generate as much of its own power onsite as possible to reduce reliance on the power grid and even be independent of the grid. Its modular design provides a scalable means to locally produce renewable hydrogen and synthetic liquid fuels from local waste.

“Raven SR provides a way to convert a variety of waste feedstocks into clean hydrogen, with a process that uses less energy than other renewable hydrogen production. Raven SR’s advanced waste-to-hydrogen technology offers a less intensive, more sustainable means of locally producing fuel,” said Taras Wankewycz, CEO of H3 Dynamics.

H3 Dynamics will work with its technology and manufacturing partners to configure hydrogen power systems componentry to meet certification requirements within the airport and aircraft environment.

“H3 Dynamics will deploy decarbonization use cases that have a more immediate impact, so that the infrastructure built today can also welcome hydrogen aircraft in the future,” said Wankewycz.

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Brookfield Renewable-backed LanzaTech gets UK grant for waste gas-to-SAF facility

Illinois-based LanzaTech has received a £25m UK grant for a plant that will convert waste gases into synthetic kerosene for use in sustainable aviation fuel.

LanzaTech has announced that its DRAGON facility project has received a £25m grant from the UK Department for Transport’s Advanced Fuels Fund Competition, according to a news release.

LanzaTech’s Project DRAGON, which stands for Decarbonizing and Reimagining Aviation for the Goal Of Netzero, will convert waste gases into synthetic kerosene for use in sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

With the funding, Project DRAGON will complete engineering and the project development in collaboration with Fluor Corporation and Technip Energies, required to reach a final investment decision (FID) for the entire waste gas to SAF project. The proposed plant, which will be sited in Port Talbot, South Wales, is expected to produce 102 million liters per year of ATJ Synthetic Paraffinic Kerosene (ATJ-SPK) to be blended with kerosene to make SAF, representing ~1% of annual UK jet fuel demand and making a significant contribution towards the UK Mandate for supplying 10% of total annual jet fuel demand in the U.K. with SAF by 2030.

LanzaTech recently reached a funding partnership with Brookfield Renewable, under which Brookfield committed to invest an initial $500m in constructing and operating new carbon capture and transformation projects that have achieved certain pre-agreed milestones. Brookfield will be LanzaTech’s preferred capital partner for LanzaTech CCT opportunities in Europe and North America and following initial investments totaling $500m, Brookfield could commit to making an additional $500m available for investments in the strategic partnership if sufficient projects are available at the agreed milestones. Brookfield will also invest $50 million in LanzaTech to support further corporate development.

The company went public earlier this year in a SPAC acquisition that valued LanzaTech at an implied $1.8bn pro forma enterprise value.

“We must accelerate deployment of SAF plants in the UK,” said Jennifer Holmgren, CEO of LanzaTech, in this week’s news release. “We’re excited that Project DRAGON has been recognized for its potential to deliver results and create new jobs while producing the volumes of SAF greatly needed by a sector that has limited options today. I thank the UK Department for Transport for its continued support and for showing leadership in validating new technologies that can have a real impact in the UK and beyond.”

Jonathon Counsell, International Airline Group’s head of sustainability, said: “Investing in Sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) is one of the best opportunities our industry has to decarbonise. We’re delighted that Project Dragon has received crucial financial support in the UK from the Department for Transport Advanced Fuels Fund.”

“IAG has committed $865m in SAF purchases and investments to date, including supporting the first of its kind LanzaJet ethanol-to-jet plant being built in the US. With the right policy support to incentivise further investment, the UK could see many SAF plants built over the next decade, creating 6,500 jobs and saving over three million tonnes of CO2 per year as well as improving the UK’s energy security.”

The feedstock for the planned facility would be waste gases, including potentially from Tata Steel’s adjacent steelworks in Port Talbot. These would be transformed via LanzaTech’s gas fermentation platform to make ethanol as a feedstock for the ATJ facility. LanzaTech have selected Fluor Corporation, a leading global engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) firm, to provide Front End Engineering and Design (FEED) services for this part of the project. “With more than 110 years in the industry, Fluor brings world class front-end engineering and EPC firm experience to assist LanzaTech in deploying its technology,” said Jason Kraynek, president, Production & Fuels, Fluor Corporation.

In a second step the ethanol would be turned into SAF using the LanzaJet™ Alcohol-to-Jet (ATJ) process, which incorporates Technip Energies ‘ethanol to ethylene’ Hummingbird™ technology. This would be the world’s first commercial scale integration of Gas Fermentation (GF) and ATJ to produce SAF with GHG reductions expected to be greater than 70% relative to conventional jet fuel.

A spokesperson for Tata Steel in the UK said: “Achieving our ambition of making CO2 neutral steel involves looking at all ways to reduce our emissions, or in this case, potentially transforming some of our waste gases into useful products such as jet fuel.”

Bhaskar Patel, Technip Energies – SVP Sustainable Fuels, Chemicals and Circularity stated “We are excited to be partnering with LanzaTech™ through our teams in the UK on this journey to help decarbonize the UK aviation industry. The implementation of T.EN’s Hummingbird™ technology integrated within the LanzaJet™ ATJ process provides a ‘best in class’ technology pathway for conversion of ethanol to SAF”.

Jimmy Samartzis, CEO, LanzaJet said: “Project DRAGON will contribute roughly 10% of the entire UK Mandate for SAF by 2030. That’s significant, and government leadership like this is paving the way for emerging industries like SAF to achieve these ambitious and necessary goals. LanzaJet’s alcohol-to-jet technology paired with LanzaTech’s gas fermentation process is changing how we think about the circular economy across the world and driving decarbonization for aviation. We’re thrilled to be partnering with LanzaTech on this work and we’re grateful for this support from the UK Department for Transport.”

The Department for Transport’s Advanced Fuels Fund (AFF) Competition was established to support the UK advanced fuels sector in development and commercial deployment of innovative fuel production technologies that are capable of significantly reducing near-term UK aviation emissions, strengthening the UK project pipeline, and broadening technology options.

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Eversource to record $1.6bn impairment, nears sale of offshore wind stakes

Eversource Energy expects to record an impairment of up to $1.6bn in connection with its offshore wind holdings, and is nearing a deal to divest its ownership of the assets to a global infrastructure investor.

Eversource Energy expects to record a substantial impairment charge in the fourth quarter of 2023, primarily due to increased costs and uncertainties in its offshore wind projects. The company is also in advanced talks to divest its 50% ownership in three major offshore wind projects: South Fork Wind, Revolution Wind, and Sunrise Wind​​.

The anticipated impairment charge, in the range of $1.4 to $1.6bn, arises from revised project construction costs and supply chain constraints, particularly in installation vessels and foundation fabrication. These challenges have led to a significant decrease in the fair value of these projects, according to the company. Additionally, the denial of Sunrise Wind’s petition by the New York State Public Service Commission to amend its Offshore Renewable Energy Credit (OREC) contract has contributed to the impairment. This decision impacts Sunrise Wind’s involvement in New York’s renewable energy solicitation and necessitates renegotiation of the OREC agreement at a revised price, further contributing to the impairment expected to be in the range of $600m to $700m for Sunrise Wind alone​​.

Eversource is negotiating with a leading global private infrastructure investor to sell its stake in these projects. While the final terms are still under discussion, Eversource aims to promptly announce the details upon reaching a definitive agreement. This potential divestiture is subject to regulatory approvals and other conditions, including partnership agreements with Ørsted, Eversource’s joint venture partner​​.

Joe Nolan, Eversource’s Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer, commented on the challenges faced by the offshore wind industry, noting significant supply chain disruptions and inflationary pressures.

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Exclusive: Ammonia plant sale paused until commercial operations

The sale process for a Texas ammonia plant has been paused until the facility reaches commercial operations.

Gulf Coast Ammonia, the developer of a world-scale ammonia plant in Texas City, Texas, has paused a sale process until the plant reaches commercial operations, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

The process to sell the plant, which will produce 1.3 million tons of ammonia per year, was underway earlier this year, led by Jefferies as sellside advisor. The plant was expected to reach COD in 2023, according to documentation.

The project was initiated by Agrifos Partners LLC and advanced to FID in collaboration with joint venture development partners Mabanaft and Macquarie Capital. Following the FID taken in late 2019, GCA is wholly owned by a joint venture of Mabanaft and Lotus Infrastructure (formerly known as Starwood Energy).

GCA is investing $600m towards the construction, operation, and ownership of the ammonia plant, which is situated on land owned by Eastman Chemical Company within Texas City’s industrial park. It includes a portion of Eastman’s port access. 

In tandem with the ammonia plant construction, Air Products is building a $500m steam methane reformer to provide hydrogen to the plant via pipeline. Air Products noted in a recent investor presentation that the SMR project recently came onstream.

Officials at Lotus, Mabanaft, and Jefferies did not reply to inquiries seeking comment.

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Exclusive: Monarch Energy targeting green hydrogen FID in 2024

Monarch is moving forward with several green hydrogen projects in the Gulf Coast region, most notably a 500 MW project near Beaumont, Texas and a 300 MW project near Geismar, Louisiana.

Green hydrogen developer Monarch Energy aims to take its first final investment decision as soon as next year, CEO Ben Alingh said in an interview.

Monarch is moving forward with several green hydrogen projects in the Gulf Coast region, most notably a 500 MW project near Beaumont, Texas and a 300 MW project near Geismar, Louisiana.

Alingh said the company is seeking to advance the projects to FID by late 2024 and early 2025. Monarch has not engaged a project finance banker yet, he said.

The company recently announced a $25m preferred equity investment and $400m project equity commitment from LS Power.

The proceeds of the preferred equity raise will fund pre-FID aspects of Monarch’s 4.5 GW green hydrogen development platform: overhead, project development, interconnection, land, permitting, and engineering.

The $400m commitment, meanwhile, is earmarked for project equity investments in Monarch’s pipeline of projects. Under the arrangement, the projects will be dropped into a new entity, Clean Hydrogen Fuels, LLC, where LS Power provides the capital and Monarch provides the project, Alingh said.

“On a project-by-project basis the projects will be transferred to Clean Hydrogen Fuels if they are selected,” he said. The Clean Hydrogen Fuels entity is jointly owned by Monarch and LS Power.

Monarch did not use a financial advisor for the capital raise. Clean Energy Counsel served as Monarch’s law firm.

For both the Beaumont and Geismar facilities, Monarch has signed MoUs with Entergy to supply long-term renewable power. Monarch is engaged with industrial users of hydrogen in each location as potential offtakers. It plans to deliver hydrogen via local Monarch-developed hydrogen pipelines that it is developing with EPC partners, he said.

“We endeavor to be as close to our end user as possible with our electrolyzer project, to limit development and execution risk on delivery,” he said. For the volumes of Monarch’s projects, trucking solutions are not on the table, he said, as it would simply require too many trucks.

The company has additional production facilities under development in Freeport, Texas, as well as four other locations in Texas, according to the ReSource project database.

Monarch is also interested in end markets for hydrogen derivatives like methanol and ammonia, but Alingh notes that every project “starts with one core focus, and that is making the cheapest green hydrogen possible.”

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Exclusive: Pattern Energy developing $9bn Texas green ammonia project

One of the largest operators of renewable energy in the Americas, San Francisco-based Pattern is advancing a 1-million-ton-per-year green ammonia project in Texas.

Pattern Energy knows a thing or two about large renewable energy projects.

It built Western Spirit Wind, a 1,050 MW project in New Mexico representing the largest wind power resource ever constructed in a single phase in the Americas. And it has broken ground on SunZia, a 3.5 GW wind project in the same state – the largest of its kind in the Western Hemisphere.

Now it is pursuing a 1-million-ton-per-year green ammonia project in Corpus Christi, Texas, at an expected cost of $9bn, according to Erika Taugher, a director at Pattern.

The facility is projected to come online in 2028, and is just one of four green hydrogen projects the company is developing. The Argentia Renewables project in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada is marching toward the start of construction next year, and Pattern is also pursuing two earlier-stage projects in Texas, Taugher said in an interview.

The Corpus Christi project consists of a new renewables project, electrolyzers, storage, and a pipeline, because the electrolyzer site is away from the seaport. It also includes a marine fuels terminal and an ammonia synthesis plant.

Pattern has renewable assets in West and South Texas and is acquiring additional land to build new renewables that would allow for tax incentives that require additionality, Taugher said.

Financing for the project is still coming together, with JV partners and prospective offtakers likely to take project equity stakes along with potential outside equity investors. No bank has been mandated yet for the financing.

Argentia

At the Argentia project, Pattern is building 300 MW of wind power to produce 90 tons per day of green hydrogen, which will be used to make approximately 400 tons per day of green ammonia. The ammonia will be shipped to counterparties in Europe, offtake contracts for which are still under negotiation.

“The Canadian project is particularly exciting because we’re not waiting on policy to determine how it’s being built,” Taugher said. “The wind is directly powering our electrolyzers there, and any additional grid power that we need from the utility is coming from a clean grid, comprised of hydropower.“

“We don’t need to wait for rules on time-matching and additionality,” she added, but noted the renewables will likely benefit from Canada’s investment tax credits, which would mean the resulting ammonia may not qualify under Europe’s rules for renewable fuels of non-biological origin (RFNBO) as recently enacted.

Many of the potential offtakers are similarly considering taking equity stakes in the Argentia project, Taugher added.

Domestic offtake

Pattern is also pursuing two early-stage projects in Texas that would seek to provide green hydrogen to the domestic offtake market.

In the Texas Panhandle, Pattern is looking to repower existing wind assets and add more wind and solar capacity that would power green hydrogen production.

In the Permian Basin, the company has optioned land and is conducting environmental and water feasibility studies to prove out the case for green hydrogen. Pattern is considering local offtake and is also in discussions to tie into a pipeline that would transport the hydrogen to the Gulf Coast.

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